Keno, often compared to a lottery, is a popular game frequently found in casinos and offered by various state lotteries. Its appeal lies in its simplicity and the excitement of a game of chance.

Players pick numbers and hope they match the randomly drawn numbers, creating a suspenseful and engaging experience. 

This game has steadily gained a significant following, drawing players who enjoy the blend of luck and anticipation that Keno offers.

Keep reading to learn how to play keno the right way!

Basic Rules of Keno

The fundamental rules of Keno are straightforward, making it accessible to a wide range of players. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Number Selection: Players choose numbers, typically between 1 and 80. The amount of numbers a player can select varies by casino but usually ranges from 1 to 10 or 20.
  • Betting: After selecting numbers, players place their bets. The amount wagered can often be adjusted based on the player’s preference.
  • Number Draw: Once bets are placed, the game draws a set number of winning numbers. This can be 20 numbers in traditional Keno, but variations might exist.
  • Winning: Players win based on how many of their chosen numbers match the drawn numbers. The more matches, the higher the payout. Payouts vary depending on the number of matches and the size of the bet.
  • Frequency: Keno games are usually run at regular intervals, allowing players to participate in multiple rounds over a short period.

These basic rules form the core of Keno’s gameplay, combining elements of chance with player choice to create a uniquely engaging experience.

Keno Ticket Explained

The Keno ticket is the primary tool for playing the game. In fact, it’s one of the most asked-about keno terms.

Here’s how it typically works:

  • Grid Layout: The ticket features a grid, usually with numbers from 1 to 80.
  • Number Selection: Players mark their chosen numbers on the ticket, which can range from one number to as many as 10 or 20, depending on the game’s rules.
  • Bet Amount: Players decide the amount they want to wager on the ticket. This can often be done by marking the bet amount on the ticket itself.
  • Game Type: If playing a special type of Keno, such as way or combination tickets, players indicate this on their ticket.
  • Submitting the Ticket: Once completed, the ticket is submitted to a Keno writer or entered electronically in online or video Keno.
  • Game Play: The drawn numbers are compared with the numbers on the player’s ticket to determine wins.

Each Keno ticket is a player’s personal selection of numbers and bet, making each game unique to the player’s choices.

How to Play Keno Step-by-Step 

Playing Keno is relatively straightforward, and here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Choose Your Numbers: In Keno, you select numbers from a field that typically ranges from 1 to 80. The number of choices you can make varies, but it’s commonly between 1 to 10 or 20 numbers. This process can be done manually, or players can opt for a ‘Quick Pick’ where numbers are randomly selected.
  2. Decide on the Wager: After choosing your numbers, decide how much you want to bet on the game. Bets can usually be adjusted to suit the player’s comfort level.
  3. Wait for the Draw: Keno games use a random number generator or a ball machine to draw a set number of winning numbers. This is usually 20 numbers, but variations may exist depending on the game or casino.
  4. Check for Matches: Once the draw is complete, check to see how many of your chosen numbers match the winning numbers. The more numbers you match, the higher your payout.
  5. Understand Payouts: Payouts in Keno can vary greatly, depending on factors like the number of matches, the number of choices made, and the size of the bet. Each casino or Keno game will have its own specific paytable.
  6. Playing Multiple Rounds: Keno games are typically quick, with new games starting at regular intervals. Players can choose to participate in multiple rounds, often using the same set of numbers or selecting new ones each time.
  7. Collect Winnings: If you have a winning ticket, you can collect your winnings from the Keno counter or, in the case of online Keno, it will be automatically credited to your account.
  8. Play Responsibly: As with any gambling game, it’s important to play Keno responsibly. Set a budget for your play and stick to it, and remember that the odds in Keno are typically in favor of the house.

Keno is a game of chance and luck, and while there’s no strategy that can guarantee a win, understanding the rules and how the game works can enhance your playing experience.

6 Types of Keno Bets

Keno offers several types of betting options, each with its own style and potential payouts:

  1. Straight Tickets: The most basic and straightforward type of Keno bet. You choose a set of numbers and get paid based on how many of them match the numbers drawn. The payout varies depending on the number of spots you choose and how many are hit.
  2. Way Tickets: Way tickets allow you to make multiple bets on a single ticket. Essentially, you can select different groups of numbers on the same ticket and bet on various combinations of these groups. This increases your chances of hitting a winning combination but requires a more complex understanding of the game.
  3. Combination Tickets: These tickets combine several sets of number selections into one ticket. You can group your chosen numbers in various ways and make straight bets on each combination. This type of ticket increases your chances of winning but also increases the cost of the bet.
  4. King Number Tickets: In this variation, one number, known as the “king,” is included in all groups of numbers on the ticket. This central number can create different combinations, enhancing the chances of hitting winning numbers.
  5. Progressive Jackpot Keno: Some Keno games offer a progressive jackpot, where the potential winning increases with each game that’s played without a jackpot winner.
  6. Specialty Tickets: Some casinos offer special Keno games with their own unique rules and payouts, such as “Top/Bottom” or “Left/Right” tickets, where you bet on numbers in specific sections of the Keno grid.

Understanding these different types of bets can help you tailor your Keno experience to your playing style and risk preference.

Variations of Keno

Among the popular questions about keno we get, the ones about variations tend to stand out the most.

Keno comes in various forms, offering diverse gaming experiences:

  • Live Keno: Played in a physical casino setting, live Keno involves a live draw with balls being drawn in real-time. Players mark their numbers on physical tickets and watch as numbers are called out.
  • Video Keno: This digital version of Keno is played on a machine, similar to a slot machine. Video Keno offers faster gameplay and allows players to play multiple games quickly.
  • Online Keno: Available on internet casino platforms, online Keno replicates the experience of live Keno but allows for play from any location. The numbers are drawn using a random number generator.
  • Power Keno/Super Keno: Variants that offer additional rules or bonuses. For example, catching a certain number can multiply the winnings.

The gameplay in each Keno variation generally remains the same, with the primary differences lying in the method of play and the environment.

Live Keno is a slower, more social game, while video and online Keno offer a faster-paced experience. 

Each variation might also offer different odds and payouts, which can affect the strategy and potential winnings.

Keno Odds and Payouts

Keno odds and payouts vary depending on the number of spots chosen and the number of matches. 

Generally, the more numbers you pick, the higher the potential payout, but the lower the probability of winning.

Example of Keno Odds Table:

Number of SpotsOdds of Hitting All Spots
11 in 4
41 in 326
61 in 7,752
81 in 230,114
101 in 8,911,711

*Note: These are illustrative odds and can vary between Keno games and casinos.

Example of Keno Payout Table:

Number of Matches4 Spots6 Spots8 Spots10 Spots

*Note: This payout table is for illustration purposes. Actual payouts can vary significantly from one Keno game to another.

Understanding the keno odds and payouts is crucial for players to gauge their potential winnings and make informed decisions about how many numbers to pick and what bets to place.


Now you have a better idea of how to play Keno, with its straightforward rules and elements of chance.

The key to enjoying Keno responsibly is understanding the game’s basics, including the various types of bets and the odds associated with them. 

Always play within your means, setting a budget and adhering to it.

Remember: Keno should be approached as a form of entertainment rather than a way to make money. By keeping these principles in mind, you can enjoy the thrill of Keno while maintaining a responsible and enjoyable approach to gaming.


  • Theo Quinten

    Theo Quinten, a decade-long devotee to the world of Keno, brings unmatched expertise to this classic game of chance. His journey began over 10 years ago, driven by an innate passion for Keno. With rigorous dedication, Theo has mastered Keno's intricacies, delving into patterns, probabilities, and strategies that set him apart. Realizing the need for a reliable resource for Keno enthusiasts, he joined Greg Wilson's project and founded the Keno Academy (which is part of with a clear vision: to cultivate a global hub of knowledge, strategy, and community.

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